Empower, Advance and Lift Up Our Youth

Youth who have been involved in the foster care system face unique challenges and need the support of our community. Although some of these individuals qualify for tuition and fee exemptions, there are many costs associated with post-secondary education that are not typically covered. Private colleges and universities, vocational/trade and career schools, and necessary supplies such as books, computers and meal plans are generally extra expenses that fall under the responsibility of the student.

The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Florida’s First Coast, with the generous support of John and Margie Arrowsmith in memory of their daughter, Krista, have established The Empowerment Scholarship Endowment that will help bridge the gap for these young adults residing in Duval, Clay, and Nassau Counties who have been involved in the dependency court system or have aged out of foster care. Revenue raised through the endowment and ongoing donations will be used to empower these individuals as they navigate through post-secondary education to rise above their circumstances.


The Empowerment Scholarship Endowment generates an annual return that will be used to fund the scholarship along with any additional donations received. The number of scholarship recipients and amount awarded will depend on the available funds and is contingent upon the availability of funds. If you are interested in helping to Change a Child’s Story by donating to The Empowerment Scholarship, please use the link below. 


In order to apply for the scholarship, eligible recipient(s) must:

  • Have spent a total of at least six (6) months in licensed out-of-home care before turning 18; or

  • Be between the ages of 18-26**

  • Must have been from foster care, or was placed with a court approved dependency guardian after spending at least six (6) months in licensed care**

  • Must have earned a standard high school diploma or equivalent

  • Have been accepted into an accredited state university, state college or university, vocational or technical school or a career college

  • Have a Grade Point Average of 2.5 + or equivalent


There are no restrictions in terms of the field of study, award usage, work history, etc.


  • Written nomination by Family Support Services of North Florida, Inc. staff with recommendation; OR

  • Written recommendation from the Circuit Director of the Guardian ad Litem Program for the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida.

  • Annual application to include written essay.*

  • Personal Interview with the scholarship committee.

*Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The Empowerment Scholarship Committee will review all requests and submit to the awards committee for approval. An annual report will be submitted to the GALF Board of Directors of all recipients.   

**The Empowerment Scholarship committee is able to authorize an award for a youth who may be outside of the criteria listed above, due to extraordinary circumstances on a case-by-case review.

***Subject to change at the discretion of the GALF Board of Directors***


To start a new application,
apply below!

If you’ve started the application process and saved your application,
click below to complete it!